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Ted Cruz and the Fall of Biden’s FAA Nominee

Cheques, estimulos, ted, cruz, ilegales, convictos

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Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) withdrew his name due to Republican criticism of his experience. The agency has been without a chief for nearly a year, as the Senate did not look favorably on the president’s nominees. Ted Cruz was the one who led the opposition to Phil Washington and now assured that Biden has the best solution in front of his eyes.

Last Saturday, Washington, who could not get the votes to get out of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, decided to withdraw his name from nomination to head the FAA. With all Republicans against him, the key was the indecision of a Democrat and an independent, Jon Tester (D-MT) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ).

“Unfortunately, an onslaught of unfounded Republican attacks on Mr. Washington’s service and experience irresponsibly delayed this process, threatened unnecessary procedural hurdles on the Senate floor, and ultimately have led him to withdraw his nomination today,” White House spokesman Abdullah Hassan reported.

Biden’s nominee was confronted by GOP senators because of his “lack of experience” for the position. Washington was named executive director of Denver International Airport in 2021 and that was his only aviation-related background.

As the ranking Republican on the Commerce Committee, Senator Cruz led the opposition and asserted that “this wasn’t the time for an administrator who needed on-the-job training.”

“The Biden administration must now quickly name someone to head the FAA who has an extensive aviation background, can earn widespread bipartisan support in the Senate, and will keep the flying public safe,” the Texas senator added.  

Cruz offered Joe Biden the solution for the FAA

Senator Ted Cruz endorsed Billy Nolen to head the FAA. (EFE)

However, Cruz reminded President Biden that the solution is closer than he thinks. Billy Nolen is the FAA’s current in-house administrator and has experience as an airline pilot. He has already won the endorsement of the senator, who assured that he would “get confirmed quickly” by the Senate.  

During a hearing on aviation security in early March, he asked his Democratic colleagues: “Do you think Phil Washington could come anywhere close to acting Administrator Nolen’s knowledge? I think the answer is no.”

The White House did not announce any plans to nominate a new candidate, but it is expected that the Biden administration will quickly look for another name to try to pass through the committee.

Robert Mann, an aviation industry consultant, spoke with POLITICO and eventually proved Cruz right. “We have a very competent acting administrator in Mr. Nolen. He’s been doing the job and he’s been responding to issues. I don’t know why he was proposed, to be perfectly honest. At the end of the day you have to actually understand something about the business,” he said.  

However, Nolan also has his detractors in the upper chamber. One of them is J.D. Vance (R-OH), who asked him about recent non-fatal incidents involving the Boeing aircraft, which returned to service in late 2020.

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“He clearly knows his stuff, that’s one thing I’d say. He knows a lot about the aviation industry, which is, unfortunately, something I wouldn’t say for Mr. Washington,” Vance said about Nolan, although he acknowledged that he was not yet ready to endorse him.

Speculation is also swirling around the name of CB “Sully” Sullenberger, the retired US Airways pilot who safely landed an airliner on the water during the January 2009 “Miracle on the Hudson.” Sullenberger stepped down in July as U.S. ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Organization after five months in the post.

Joaquín Núñez es licenciado en comunicación periodística por la Universidad Católica Argentina. Se especializa en el escenario internacional y en la política nacional norteamericana. Confeso hincha de Racing Club de Avellaneda. Contacto: joaquin.nunez@elamerican.com // Joaquín Núñez has a degree in journalistic communication from the Universidad Católica Argentina. He specializes in the international scene and national American politics. Confessed fan of Racing Club of Avellaneda. Contact: joaquin.nunez@elamerican.com